The use of ready-to-use grafts from specialized eye banks might provide a number of benefits, including graft quality control, assured availability at a certain operation time, a decreased likelihood of case cancellation, and a shorter and less sophisticated DMEK surgery, with a resulting lower risk of graft damage. However, it is critical to thoroughly establish the clinical safety of employing these preloaded tissues. Especially since most of the studies were prepared and stored under hypothermic conditions. There are only a few studies on preprepared tissues in organ culture, which are partly controversial.
In this prospective study we included patients who received DMEK surgery at the Knappschaft Eye Clinic Sulzbach. Patients received either a preloaded DMEK (pDMEK), prepared five days before surgery in the eye bank, or a conventional, directly before surgery, surgeon-prepared DMEK (sDMEK).
The preliminary data show a trend towards more frequent need for rebubbing in the pDMEK group and a statistically non-significant lower postoperative endothelial cell count compared to the sDMEK group. However, the development of visual acuity and decrease in corneal thickness is comparable in both groups.
Therefore, we investigated the clinical outcomes of the first organ-cultured preloaded DMEK cases and compared these outcomes with those from our very last cases with surgically loaded tissues from a single centre.
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